Tony Gwynn: Mr. Padre’s legend and legacy in San Diego

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: 2007 inductee Tony Gwynn gives his acceptance speech at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 29, 2007 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: 2007 inductee Tony Gwynn gives his acceptance speech at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 29, 2007 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 8: Downtown is dark after a massive blackout hit Southern California September 8, 2011, in San Diego, California. Approximately 1.5 million residents from Southern Orange County to Northern Baja are without power.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 8: Downtown is dark after a massive blackout hit Southern California September 8, 2011, in San Diego, California. Approximately 1.5 million residents from Southern Orange County to Northern Baja are without power.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) /

The face of a city

For his legacy on and off the field, Tony Gwynn was honored during the 2016 All-Star game in San Diego, with the NL batting title being named in his honor. 

Petco Park, the house that Gwynn built, was the perfect setting for this emotional event and tribute. We know Tony Gwynn was smiling down from above with that contagious smile of his.

Nealy a decade before, Mr. Padre was inducted into the 2007 MLB Hall of a Fame, giving an acceptance speech for the ages.

“I love to hit. I can’t wait until it’s my turn. Sometimes, I think that’s all baseball is. I root for the other team to go down 1-2-3 so I can hit again.”

Gwynn just loved to hit. Maybe more than anyone in the history of the game itself. He needed hitting like we all need breathing to survive, with the knack for hitting imprinted on the DNA of Gwynn.

Greg Maddux even remembers how difficult it was to record an out against the stingy Padre.

"“He’s easily the toughest hitter for me. I can’t think of anyone who hits me harder. He handles the pitch away as well as anybody, and he’s able to stay inside the ball when the pitch is in. His holes are just very small.”"

What’s often overlooked is Gwynn’s defense. His workman-like attitude translated to the outfield, where Gwynn took home five Golden Glove awards for his efforts.